The United Nations General Assembly adopted the draft resolution presented by the Kingdom to promote a culture of peace and tolerance for the protection of religious sites.
The resolution condemns all acts of violence or threats that are still being committed against religious sites, or their destruction or damage to them because they are places of worship.
It rejects the obliteration of the identity and the forcible transfer of any religious sites. It also condemns attacks by extremists and terrorists on religious sites and places of worship and affirms the importance of religious sites as places of peace. It represents the history of people and their social fabric and must be respected.
The decision rejects all speeches of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, and negative stereotyping of people based on their religion or belief and that freedom of opinion and expression implies responsibilities and duties in confronting all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.
The resolution expresses concern about the dangerous situations, degrading negative stereotypes that continue to target people based on their religion and belief. It affirms that terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations cannot and should not be linked to any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.
It also stresses the urgent need to strengthen international, regional, and sub-regional cooperation aimed at supporting the national capacities of states to effectively prevent attacks on places of worship. It calls on all member states to enhance education and capacity-building to counter incitement to violence by promoting messages of unity, solidarity, and dialogue between religions and cultures.
The permanent representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Muallami, stated in his speech during the session of the United Nations General Assembly that the draft resolution entitled “Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to protect religious sites” was presented by the Kingdom, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE, Yemen, Pakistan, and dozens of friendly countries co-sponsored the draft resolution, using the United Nations initiative to protect religious sites in its formulation.
He expressed his hope that the decision would achieve the development of a culture of peace about relations between individuals, groups, and states. It will make this culture a powerful shield against attacks of extremism, hatred, and violence.
Such attacks be based on the existence of differences between human beings, races, religions, and cultures, in addition to harnessing the culture of peace towards protecting sites. Religions and religious symbols include acts of violence, provocation, and ridicule, and there is a concern to avoid a clash between religious values and beliefs and the values of tolerance.
It calls for freedom of expression of opinion through mutual respect and self-awareness of the limits that should be stopped to prevent stirring up sedition and provocation.
Al-Muallami pointed out that one of the aims of this resolution is to confirm that there is no justification for the use of violence in expressing views, especially about the respect of differences in religions and beliefs, in addition to emphasizing the great importance and high position of religious sites, and the need to work to protect them.
He stressed that the bonds of humanity are at the basis of equality in rights and dignity among peoples. The countries of the world should know that religious sites are places of peace and worship and represent the history of peoples.
He said, “We deplore the offense and mockery of religious figures and respected personalities, and we believe that human freedoms should not be used as a means to provoke and ignite clashes, but rather should be a factor in mutual understanding, dialogue, and acceptance of others.”
Ambassador Al-Muallami stressed the Kingdom’s firm stances based on respecting difference and condemning aggression and terrorism, regardless of its sources or justifications, expressing the Kingdom’s condemnation of everything that could help with terrorism by directly supporting terrorists or by provoking them and calling them directly or indirectly to carry out their criminal actions.
Ambassador Abdullah Al-Muallami reaffirmed that adopting the resolution by consensus comes to strengthen unity and solidarity, to assure the world that all are united against terrorism and extremism, to unite in protecting human values, protecting religious sites, protecting basic human rights, including freedom of belief, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression within the framework of mutual respect, tolerance, and dialogue.